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Former Pittsburgh Steelers defender Ben Roethlisberger shared his opinion on the current state of football, stating that he believes the players’ mentality has changed “from prioritizing the team over themselves”.
In an extensive interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Roethlisberger expressed frustration with his later years with the Steelers and appeared to point to a shift in the team’s dynamics as a contributing factor to his playoff woes.
“I feel like the game has changed. I feel like people have changed in a way. Maybe it’s because I was spoiled when I arrived. The team was so important. It was all about the team. Now about me and this, this and that,” he explained.
“I may be a little on the soap box, but this is my biggest takeaway from the moment I started to the end. It has evolved from a team approach to an attitude towards oneself. This was hard”.
Roethlisberger ended his career with two Super Bowl titles, six Pro Bowl selections and the 2004 AP Offensive Rookie of the Year. He retired with 64,088 passing yards and 418 touchdowns, but won just three playoff games after 2010.
“It’s hard for these young guys too. Social networks. They are treated so well in college. Now, this new NIL stuff, which is unbelievable. They are treated so special. They are coddled at a young age because college coaches need them to win too,” Roethlisberger continued. – I know the coach. [Terry] Heppner never spoiled me [at Miami of Ohio]. Neither one nor the other [Bill] Cowher”.
Roethlisberger led the Steelers to a franchise-best 11-0 start in 2020 before finishing 12-4 and ultimately losing to the Cleveland Browns in the playoffs. He returned for another season.
“I thought I left on my own terms. I never wanted to stay too long. I know some people might think that I wanted to. “You stayed last year.” But to be honest, I thought I played well last year,” said Roethlisberger. “My hand feels like I can still go out and play. I’m pretty sure I can still play. But it’s every day. I’m fine with everything where I am.”